In this delightful Christmas picture book, Jack’s substitute teacher, Mr. Clausen, looks a whole lot like Santa Claus—could he really be Santa?
"As Agnes says, ‘There should be more stories where girls help one another.’" - BCCB
"This blend of princess power, traditional fantasy, and bountiful snow is a win-win(ter) mix." - Kirkus
Tracing Stars. By Erin E. Moulton. (Philomel 9780399256967). (STARRED)
Moulton’s (Flutter, 2011) lovely sophomore novel is set in coastal Plumtown, which, with its Main Street and quaint businesses, feels like small-town USA. Against this idyllic backdrop, readers meet spirited Indie Lee Chickory—expert fish-face maker and Pisces star wisher—who has two plans for her post-fifth grade summer: to find her lost pet golden lobster, the Lobster Monty Cola, and to become the best Chickory she can be—in other words, someone who won’t embarrass her popular older sister, Bebe. To accomplish the latter, Indie joins her sister’s theater company as a set helper to punk teenager Sloth; for the former, she builds an ocean lookout using the front and back ends of a fishing boat with the help of nerdy, nice Owen Stone. The construction efforts feel like a somewhat implausible undertaking, but the characters’ intentions—and universal kid problems—are completely authentic. Can you remain friends with a boy even though everyone tells you he is a loser? Can you stand up to your “same-blood, same-bones sister”? Can wishing on stars bring miracles? This timeless story perfectly captures the growth that summer affords kids when, after endless days and nights, they emerge truer versions of themselves. Readers won’t soon forget Miss Indie Lee Chickory.— Ann Kelley